Victor Niles Paananen

Victor Niles Paananen, age 75, of Revere, Massachusetts, died of cancer on Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Victor was born in Ashtabula, Ohio on January 31, 1938 to Niles and Anni (Iloranta) Paananen.

Victor prepared at Ashtabula Harbor High School, graduating in 1956. He graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude in English from Harvard College where he was a member of Lowell House and the Class of 1960. He received his M.A. (1964) and PhD (1967) in English from the University of Wisconsin.

He was a retired English professor at Michigan State University, where he taught from 1968 to 2002. He also served as assistant dean of the graduate school for 5 years and chaired the English Department for 8 years. Before going to Michigan State, he taught at Williams College and Wofford College. He was named honorary fellow at Roehampton Institute, London.

He was the author of two books, William Blake and British Marxist Criticism, and numerous articles, reviews and papers.

A committed political activist, he was a longtime member of the Committee for a Workers’ International and was a founding member of the Labor Party in the United States.

He leaves his wife, Diane (De Santis) whom he married in 2011, and two sons Karl and Neil. His first wife, Donna (Jones), whom he married in 1964, died in 2002. Per his request, a small graveside ceremony was performed at Bethel Cemetery, Columbus, Wisconsin, where he was interred next to Donna.


Adapted from the Revere’s Star Beacon, March 26, 2013.